SAN JOSE -- The Oak Grove-San Jose High football team needed a clutch third-and-long pass from backup quarterback Ray Cruz and big plays from receiver Will Ossai to hold off McClymonds on Friday night.
The host Eagles won 27-20 against an opponent that desperately wanted -- but did not get -- one more opportunity after scoring a touchdown with just under three minutes to play.
In the end, Oak Grove (3-0) completed a perfect nonleague schedule, although coach Jay Braun knows his team was far from perfect against McClymonds (1-3).
"Very frustrating," Braun said, "because I felt like our guys got to come with more emotion for 48 minutes. We tend to seem to have little mental breakdowns here and there, and it's getting to be concerning because teams are going to start picking up on what we're doing.
"We're going to have to pick up our emotions, our intensity."
There was no doubting the intensity McClymonds brought. The Oakland school suited up only 24 players — fewer than half of Oak Grove's roster — yet had the Mercury News' third-ranked team in trouble in the closing minutes.
Keith Williams, who threw for 183 yards, cut Oak Grove's lead to 27-20 with 2:46 left when he scored on a 1-yard sneak and threw a two-point pass to Jermaine McCann-Caluya.
McClymonds failed to recover the onside kick but looked as if it would get the ball back when Oak Grove faced third-and-16 at its 45.
Cruz, who came off the
"I felt pressure from my backside, so I ran," said Cruz, who completed all three of his passes for 39 yards. "I saw Will Ossai at the last second and threw to him. It was just a great play."
For McClymonds, it was a heartbreaking play.
"I wish the game was still going right now, but, you know, what can I do?" Williams said.
Oak Grove seemed on the verge of breaking the game open early.
Nick Bernardo took the opening kickoff and dashed 68 yards up the middle to the McClymonds 17. Two plays later, Chidobe Awuzie ran in from the 6 for a 7-0 lead.
Oak Grove patiently drove down field for another touchdown on its next possession. Dallas Misaalefua finished the 13-play series with an 8-yard scoring pass to Ossai, the only pass attempt for the Eagles in the quarter.
McClymonds responded with an 11-play drive that ended in clutch fashion — a 26-yard pass from Williams to Lavon Washington on fourth-and-16. The catch just inside the back line cut Oak Grove's lead to 13-6.
The score looked as if it would stay that way until halftime, but then Awuzie blocked a punt with 45 seconds left to give Oak Grove the ball at the McClymonds 23.
Braun called on Cruz, and the junior responded with two pass completions, the latter an 11-yard fade pass to Ossai for a touchdown that stretched the Eagles' advantage to 20-6.
But with time still on the clock, Washington scooped up the kickoff at the 11 and weaved through a pack of players on his way to the end zone, pulling McClymonds to within 20-12 at halftime.
"A lot of respect to their program," Braun said. "They came down here and played hard."